Witnesses describe defendant abusing mother before her death
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent October 8, 2013 11:40PM
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:37AM
Buckets of urine, a foul odor and garbage and clutter greeted the first arriving officers at a home where witnesses testified they saw a Calumet Township man batter his 94-year-old mother as she sat on the front porch.
Lake County police Patrolman Mike Buehrle described a large amount of clutter throughout the home where George Knezevic lived with his mother, Ljubica “Violet” Knezevic, in the 4700 block of Buchanan Street, where he was called on Oct. 13, 2010.
The testimony came in the second day of the trial for Knezevic, 62, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, neglect and battery charges in his mother’s death.
Buehrle said he and another officer searched the home after Knezevic was taken into custody and found Ljubica Knezevic in the bathroom on the toilet. He said she appeared badly bruised and weak. There was blood on her face and hands. The nightgown she was wearing was wet, and there was feces on the floor and toilet.
Inside the door was a silver semi-automatic handgun that didn’t appear to be in working condition, and a black revolver on a stand inside the door. A third pistol, a 22-caliber handgun, had one round in the chamber, Buehrle said.
Three men — Paul Sparrow, his brother, Travis Jones, and Danair Williams — testified they saw Knezevic strike the woman in the face with a boot she had tried to put on as she sat outside on the porch feeding cats. The men, who were sitting in Sparrow’s car parked out front, also testified they saw Knezevic strike her with his hand before grabbing a water hose and spraying her in the face. Sparrow said Knezevic’s hand was around his mother’s throat.
Sparrow, who lived next door, said he used foul language when he told Knezevic to stop. Knezevic grabbed the woman by her hair and the back of her shirt before he shoved her inside the house, then came back outside with a flashlight, shined it inside his car and threatened him, Sparrow said. Sparrow said he flashed his high-beam headlights at Knezevic, who again went inside the home, then came out with a silver pistol, put it to Sparrow’s head and told him twice to “stay the (expletive) out of my business,” twice.
Sparrow, Jones and Williams all were charged with burglarizing the Knezevic home and stealing a safe containing numerous guns. Sparrow’s case is still pending. Jones pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was placed on probation. Williams also pleaded guilty to a lesser offense.